The baptism from heaven (Lk 20:5-20:5)

“They discussed it

With one another.

They said.

‘If we say,

‘From heaven.’

He will say.

‘Why did you

Not believe him?’”

 

οἱ δὲ συνελογίσαντο πρὸς ἑαυτοὺς λέγοντες ὅτι Ἐὰν εἴπωμεν Ἐξ οὐρανοῦ, ἐρεῖ Διὰ τί οὐκ ἐπιστεύσατε αὐτῷ;

 

Luke indicated that these Jewish religious leaders considered it with one another, among themselves (οἱ δὲ συνελογίσαντο πρὸς ἑαυτοὺς).  Once again, this is a unique word of Luke, συνελογίσαντο that means to reckon, to compute, reason, or consider, that cannot be found in any other Greek biblical literature.  They said (λέγοντες ὅτι) that if they answered from heaven (Ἐὰν εἴπωμεν Ἐξ οὐρανοῦ), then they would be asked why they did not believe in John (ἐρεῖ Διὰ τί οὐκ ἐπιστεύσατε αὐτῷ).  This argument or discussion among the Jewish leaders can also be found in Matthew, chapter 21:25, and Mark, chapter 11:31, almost word for word.  Mark said that the high priests, Scribes, and the elders argued or discussed with each other (καὶ διελογίζοντο πρὸς ἑαυτοὺς).  If they said that John’s baptism was from heaven (λέγοντες·Ἐὰν εἴπωμεν Ἐξ οὐρανοῦ), then Jesus would ask them why they had not believed in John the Baptist (ἐρεῖ Διὰ τί οὖν οὐκ ἐπιστεύσατε αὐτῷ)?  Matthew said that the high priests and the elders argued with each other (οἱ δὲ διελογίζοντο ἐν ἑαυτοῖς).  If they said that John’s baptism was from heaven (λέγοντες· Ἐὰν εἴπωμεν Ἐξ οὐρανοῦ), then Jesus would ask them why they had not believed in John the Baptist (ἐρεῖ ἡμῖν Διὰ τί οὖν οὐκ ἐπιστεύσατε αὐτῷ)?  Although, this was a real option, these Jewish religious leaders did not want to go there.  Have you ever stumped a person with a tricky question?

Understanding the parables (Lk 8:10-8:10)

“Jesus said.

‘To you

It has been given

To know the secrets

Of the kingdom

Of God.

But to others,

I speak in parables.

Thus,

Looking,

They may not perceive!

Listening,

They may not understand!’”

 

ὁ δὲ εἶπεν Ὑμῖν δέδοται γνῶναι τὰ μυστήρια τῆς βασιλείας τοῦ Θεοῦ, τοῖς δὲ λοιποῖς ἐν παραβολαῖς, ἵνα βλέποντες μὴ βλέπωσιν καὶ ἀκούοντες μὴ συνιῶσιν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said (ὁ δὲ εἶπεν) to his disciples that they would be able to understand the secrets (Ὑμῖν δέδοται γνῶναι τὰ μυστήρια) of the kingdom of God (τῆς βασιλείας τοῦ Θεοῦ).  But to others (τοῖς δὲ λοιποῖς), he would be speaking in parables or riddles (ἐν παραβολαῖς).  Thus, these people might look (ἵνα βλέποντες), but not see (μὴ βλέπωσιν).  They might listen (καὶ ἀκούοντες), but not understand (μὴ συνιῶσιν).  This response of Jesus about the meaning of parables can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Mark, chapter 4:11-12, and Matthew, chapter 13:11-15, and here.  Matthew and Mark also said that Jesus told his disciples that they had been given knowledge concerning the secret mysteries about the kingdom of heaven or the kingdom of God.  However, this was not granted to others.  Matthew had Jesus explain that those who had more knowledge, even more abundant knowledge would be given to them.  However, those who had nothing, even what little they had would be taken away.  The reason that Jesus spoke in parables was that some people might see, but not perceive what they saw, while other people might hear but not understand what they have heard.  For people outside their disciple group, everything was still in parables or riddles.  Only those on the inside would understand these parables, while those outside the inner circle of Jesus would not understand these riddles.  This was almost like a gnostic interpretation of knowledge, where only the elite insiders had a true secret knowledge about the mysteries and the kingdom of God and heaven.  Matthew also had a long citation from Isaiah, chapter 6:9-10, about the people unable to understand, while Luke, and Mark had only a short summary statement.  Isaiah told the Israelite people that they were listening without comprehending.  They were looking without understanding.  Their hearts were dull and their eyes and ears were closed.  They were experiencing and listening, but they could not hear or understand.  Do you understand what you see and hear?

Only God forgives sins (Lk 5:21-5:21)

“Then the Scribes

And the Pharisees

Began to question.

‘Who is this

That speaks blasphemies?

Who can forgive sins

But God alone?’”

 

καὶ ἤρξαντο διαλογίζεσθαι οἱ γραμματεῖς καὶ οἱ Φαρισαῖοι λέγοντες Τίς ἐστιν οὗτος ὃς λαλεῖ βλασφημίας; τίς δύναται ἁμαρτίας ἀφεῖναι εἰ μὴ μόνος ὁ Θεός;

 

Luke said that the Scribes (οἱ γραμματεῖς) and the Pharisees (καὶ οἱ Φαρισαῖοι) began to reason or question Jesus (καὶ ἤρξαντο διαλογίζεσθαι).  Was Jesus not speaking blasphemies (λέγοντες Τίς ἐστιν οὗτος ὃς λαλεῖ βλασφημίας)?  Only God could forgive sins (τίς δύναται ἁμαρτίας ἀφεῖναι εἰ μὴ μόνος ὁ Θεός).  Mark, chapter 2:6-7, and Matthew, chapter 9:3, are similar to Luke, so that Mark might be the source of this saying about the Pharisees and the Scribes saying that Jesus was committing blasphemy.  Mark and Matthew did not mention the Pharisees, just the Scribes.  Mark said that some of these Scribes were sitting there in this crowded room.  They were reasoning or questioning in their hearts, but not to others.  They wondered why Jesus was talking this way, since it appeared to be blasphemy.  Blasphemers used scurrilous or irreverent language about God.  How was Jesus able to forgive sins, since only God can forgive sins?  This seems like a legitimate question.

The registration in their own hometown (Lk 2:3-2:3)

“All people

Went

To their own towns

To be registered.”

 

καὶ ἐπορεύοντο πάντες ἀπογράφεσθαι, ἕκαστος εἰς τὴν ἑαυτοῦ πόλιν.

 

Luke said that all the people went to be registered (καὶ ἐπορεύοντο πάντες ἀπογράφεσθαι).  Each one of them went to their own town or city (ἕκαστος εἰς τὴν ἑαυτοῦ πόλιν).  In other words, people returned to their ancestral home towns.  It is not clear how long and why Joseph and Mary were in Nazareth.  However, there had to be a reason for Jesus to be born in Bethlehem, the city of David.  Matthew, chapter 2:1, did not say why Joseph and Mary were in Bethlehem, since he never mentioned anything about registering for any kind of census, like Luke here.

The prayer of Elizabeth (Lk 1:25-1:25)

“Elizabeth said.

‘This is what

The Lord

Has done to me.

He looked on me.

He took away

The disgrace

That I have endured

Among my people.’”

 

λέγουσα

ὅτι Οὕτως μοι πεποίηκεν Κύριος ἐν ἡμέραις αἷς ἐπεῖδεν ἀφελεῖν ὄνειδός μου ἐν ἀνθρώποις.

 

Luke has this prayer of Elizabeth.  She said that the Lord had done this to her (ὅτι Οὕτως μοι πεποίηκεν Κύριος).  Many believed that only God could help people get pregnant, since he controlled the opening and closing of the womb, as indicated in Genesis, chapter 16:2, about Sarah and being barren.  That was the reason that there were so many pagan fertility gods, rites, and rituals, since giving birth was considered to be some kind of magical or divine action.  Also, contemporary political gesturing around reproductive rights has its basis in religious beliefs.  Elizabeth said that in those days (ἐν ἡμέραις), the Lord had looked on her (αἷς ἐπεῖδεν), since he took away her disgrace or reproach (ἀφελεῖν ὄνειδός) that she had endured among her people or other men (ἐν ἀνθρώποις).  Being barren or sterile was considered a punishment from God.  The prime example of a happiness at birth would have been in Genesis, chapter 29:31-30:23, where Rachel finally had a son, Joseph.  Elizabeth understood her pregnancy as a personal vindication or reward for her righteousness.  She did not seem to understand the wider consequences of her pregnancy.

 

What evil has he done? (Mk 15:14-15:14)

“Pilate asked them.

‘What evil has he done?’

But they shouted

All the more.

‘Crucify him!’”

 

ὁ δὲ Πειλᾶτος ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς Τί γὰρ ἐποίησεν κακόν; οἱ δὲ περισσῶς ἔκραξαν Σταύρωσον αὐτόν.

 

Something similar to this dialogue between Pilate and the crowd can be found in Matthew, chapter 27:23.  Mark said that Pilate tried to reason with the crowd.  He asked them (ὁ δὲ Πειλᾶτος ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς) what evil or bad thing had Jesus done (Τί γὰρ ἐποίησεν κακόν)?  But they shouted all the more loudly (οἱ δὲ περισσῶς ἔκραξαν) that he was to be crucified (Σταύρωσον αὐτόν).  The crowd that had loved Jesus for all his miracles and preaching now wanted him dead as they had turned on him.  Have you ever turned on Jesus?

You do not know scriptures (Mk 12:24-12:24)

“Jesus said to them.

‘Is this not the reason

That you are wrong?

You know neither

The scriptures

Nor the power of God.’”

 

ἔφη αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς Οὐ διὰ τοῦτο πλανᾶσθε μὴ εἰδότες τὰς γραφὰς μηδὲ τὴν δύναμιν τοῦ Θεοῦ

 

This comment or reprimand by Jesus is similar to Matthew, chapter 22:29, but not in Luke.  Mark said that Jesus responded to the Sadducees (ἔφη αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς) by telling them that they were wrong, deceived, or led astray (Οὐ διὰ τοῦτο πλανᾶσθε).  They did not know scriptures or the writings (μὴ εἰδότες τὰς γραφὰς).  They also did not know the power or purpose of God (μηδὲ τὴν δύναμιν τοῦ Θεοῦ).  Simply put, they were ill-informed or stupid.